People with very sensitive skin may have to reduce the amount of vinegar they use for the solution as its high concentration can irritate the skin during a 30-minute session. If you notice that the skin gets red or peels in areas that are not affected by fungus, use half of the suggested amount of vinegar. You can also do the vinegar treatment 2-3 times a week rather than daily and apply other products or solutions on the remaining days.
Baking soda is known for its antibacterial properties and has been used for years as a home remedy for acne and other skin infections. When used for toenail fungus treatment, it does not only kill the bacteria but also stops the development of fungus and neutralizes foot odour. The best way to incorporate baking soda into the toenail fungus treatment is to prepare a solution of 1,5 l of water with 5 tablespoons of baking soda, 4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and 5 tablespoons of Epsom salt and the same amount of vinegar. Soak your feet in this solution for 10 minutes and dry them well. If you repeat this process once or twice a day, after just 4 weeks you should notice a significant decrease of toenail fungus symptoms. The solution prevents fungus from spreading and gently dissolves the infected toenail. For better effects, exfoliate the damaged nail every two to three days.
Snakeroot Leaf Extract
While it might not be a very commonly used product, snakeroot leaf extract is really worth trying. Some health food stores will stock it, or else you can buy it online. The results are worth the hassle since snakeroot leaf extract has been proven to be almost as effective as topical ointments. It gives quick results and if you apply it on the affected nail three times a week for a month, you will already notice the decrease in the fungus symptoms. Over the following two months, you need to gradually reduce the amount of the product you use but make sure you continue the treatment for full three months in order to achieve permanent results.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano finds use in a wide range of cosmetic products and medicines due to its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Regular use of a mixture of olive oil and oil of oregano stops the growth of fungus, reduces the inflammation and enhances the regeneration of nail plate. Apply it twice a day on the affected toenail for three weeks and you will see spectacular effects.
One of very popular hygiene products that have is used in antifungal treatment is mouthwash. It’s designed to kill bacteria and germs and works great as a toenail fungus treatment product. For extra antiseptic effect choose a mouthwash that contains alcohol. You can prepare a strong solution of equal parts of mouthwash and vinegar and apply it to the affected area twice daily or mix half a cup of mouthwash and half a cup of vinegar with two liters of water and soak your entire feet in the solution for 30 minutes. The latter option will give you the extra benefit of softening the skin on your feet. Those who don’t exfoliate feet regularly and have many layers of dead skin cells may notice that chunks of skin will come off after just one treatment. It is normal and only shows that you need to improve your foot beauty regime in the future.
Due to the high level of fatty acids, coconut oil helps fight fungus since it changes the structure of the fungal membrane. When you apply coconut oil on the toenail affected by fungus, it will gradually cause the fungus cells to disintegrate. This treatment might be a bit more time-consuming and you will have to wait longer for the results, but is ideal for those people whose feet are very sensitive and might react with redness or irritation to some harsh products like vinegar or mouthwash.
When should I seek medical help
If toenail fungus doesn’t get stopped and treated properly at an early stage, it may infect other nails, cause their deformation, permanent damage or even loss. People with an impaired immune system or diabetes risk developing skin tissue infection if they don’t react promptly to the problem of nail fungus.
If you see that fungus has affected your nails to such an extent that they start cracking, splitting or getting deformed, then it’s time to see the doctor who will let you know which of medical treatments suits best your nail condition.
Nail fungus develops in the deeper layers of the nail so the most effective way to stop it is to act both from the outside, through various treatment we described above and from the inside, by using prescribed an antifungal medication. It speeds up the healing process but takes no less than 12 weeks for the fungus to disappear. Faster results may come at a cost since the side effects of prolonged anti-fungal medication use include diarrhoea, rash and abnormalities in the levels of liver enzymes. No matter how much you want fast results, avoid this type of medication if you have an impaired immune system or suffer from a liver disease.
Some severe cases of toenail fungus may leave you no other option but to have a surgery that will partially or completely remove the nail. The surgery is not the most pleasant one, but it’s not painful either. It is the recovery time that poses a problem since you might feel pain while walking for up to a few weeks after the procedure. However, the removal of the infected cells and daily application of anti-fungal cream after the surgery guarantee permanent results.
An alternative to the surgery is a laser treatment in which a beam of laser is used to damage the fungus in the infected nail. It’s effective, but in some more severe cases, a series of sessions is required to achieve desired results. Obviously, every extra session means extra costs. That is why laser treatment is a good choice only in the initial stages of fungal infection.
Medical Nail Debridement
If neither of the medical treatments described above is an option you could accept, then try medical debridement which is a type of a strong, chemical peeling performed on your nails by the doctor. The doctor applies a special ointment on the affected nail and secures it with a dressing that you need to wear for seven days. After that time, the doctor trims the nail and removes the softened, dead nail tissue.